Regular Poem: On the Grind

20 Apr

she’s always on her grind
always got a scheme going a new project an old project always a project
usually for money but sometimes just for self-edification
some blend of physical and mental
that takes planning and vision and muscle in equal measure

a self-directed self-starter
on her grind
making that money
making those connections
(she’s gonna make it after all
throws a beret into the air and
freeze frame
)

i often find myself in bizarre situations with her
driving an open lonely stretch of turnpike
listening to her monologue about
events that she doesn’t give enough exposition to really understand
and conspiracies that i don’t exactly buy
and/or
standing with my back straight and my hands in my pockets with my head cocked in thoughtful listening mode
in foggy parking lots and chilly equine rescues and stuffy living rooms and dusty gutted hotels mid-renovation

when she introduces me to other characters in these bizarre situations
they without fail nod and say something like
oh right
that girl

a foundation has already been laid they already know without having seen me before
i’m the sidekick
and they trust me because they trust her and she trusts me

it’s so fascinating

we’re all protagonists in our own lives
but there’s so much to be learned about yourself when you analyze
what kind of supporting character you are in somebody else’s life
especially if that person lives her life in a completely different genre

she’s the plucky heroine of a pulled-up-by-own-bootstraps adventure
and in her narrative i’m her mentee
whom she sees as a younger version of herself
to be nurtured and cultivated and remade
into the best version of both of us

but in my narrative
(well in my narrative
i’m all white trash gothic and heavy-handed poetry)

she’s on her grind
like a powerful river
smoothing the rocks beneath her by willful and persistent erosion
always surging forward with an ultimate goal
obstacles surmounted in crests and bends

and i’m on my grind
like a grindstone
the free-standing electric kind with a sandstone wheel
i can sharpen or i can blunt or i can polish and i’m very good at it
but somebody has to flip the switch somebody has to connect the power and start me to turning

on my own i am inert collect dust
look like a pretty relic
some specimen in an antique shop
although i’m not antique
i work

i still work

just plug me in and see
just plug me in

Regular Poem: Grapefruit

20 Apr

there’s that urban legend
or common knowledge factoid
or rumor
or whatever
about how eating celery uses more energy than the celery itself provides
i don’t think it’s true
i think i read otherwise

but i would believe it about grapefruit
sure there’s not a lot of chewing involved
but a lot of other work
all the peeling and scraping and manipulating and cajoling

i like the taste of grapefruit
and i buy it by the dozen
but i’m not sure i really eat it so often because i like it
if i liked it that well
i’d probably buy the pre-peeled kind in little plastic containers

i think
upon further inspection and introspection
i eat grapefruit as a hobby

Regular Poem: Garage Opossum

19 Apr

my dog keeps trying to bark away the opossum who hangs out in our garage
and i keep trying to explain to her
that opossums are friends

they’re not rodents
they’re north america’s only indigenous marsupial
naturally immune to rabies
predators of nasty bugs and stuff
scavengers of other nasty stuff
clean quiet basically friendly animals

sure
being wine drunk in your underwear on your back porch and
hearing mysterious suspicious rustling in the black foggy night
and steeling yourself to defend your home
with a glass of wine and a flashlight in one hand
and a glock nine millimeter in the other
and finding one rummaging in the neighbor’s garbage
who gets startled and hisses at you and the blinding light in its eyes

can be a shock
but ultimately
it was me apologizing

opossums are nocturnal and have just as much right to be out looking for trash
as i did being trash on my back porch

my dog thinks more in black and white though
fitting as i’ve read that dogs are color blind
and she considers any unauthorized entity in the garage
an intruder needing barked off

but that’s the thing
opossums are always authorized in my book
and whatever authority hildie thinks she’s got as chief security officer
my name’s the one on the deed

when she starts paying property tax
she can bark off any marsupials she wants
hell she can tell me to start barking

Regular Poem: The Problem Is There Are No Modern Disaster Flicks Ripe for as Good a Sequined Appliqué Sweater as The Towering Inferno

18 Apr

dixieland band leader is not a super viable option
for main career anyway
good side gig maybe
if i could find the right bandmates
or if garageband ever gets its act together and adds banjo to its lineup
and horns while they’re at it
garageband is really not equipped for dixieland in any kind of way
not so great for country western either but that’s not what this is about

what this is about is
also another anachronistic avenue
but it doesn’t stay down that street
it’s the fannie flagg trajectory
game show panelist in outrageous sweaters
not super viable but maybe game shows will have a renaissance
they kick around every few years or so
and who knows maybe if i pile up enough ridiculous sweaters
i can just slide right into a hollywood square or whatever they decide to revive

but after that
novelist
of fun books about fun people who like each other and care for each other
in colorful towns with eccentric characters
maybe some shady illegal stuff but all in good fun
maybe some racist misogynist villains who get low-key murdered by secondary protagonists

i was talking a while back with another audiobook enthusiast
and he was saying he can’t stand a book read by the author
i’m ambivalent
except for fannie flagg
i want her to read me all her books
and all of everybody else’s

there’s an idea
what if you went to the library and picked up an audiobook
and it said not
read by the author
but
read by an author
like they put everybody’s name in a hat
fingers crossed fannie flagg would get pulled out
for any future novels i might write

Regular Poem: Limited Time Only

16 Apr

my praise band soprano says they do it every summer
it’s not summer
and barely spring in name and thunder storms and intermittent convertible days and window-shaking wind
but i finally saw it today with my own two eyes
i’ve never been invested before so i don’t have a personal testimony for years past
but i trust her
she’s never lied to me and she’s very good at harmony even if reading music isn’t her strong suit

i’ll wait and see
and hopefully the limited time
isn’t too limited

it makes me wonder about other limited times
with no clear end date

surely baja blast sold in cans at the grocery store
is a morale booster
and the season will be extended
accordingly

Regular Poem: Green Flavor

15 Apr

you gotta be careful with green flavors

all reds kinda taste the same as other reds unless it’s a cinnammon or a tomato-base and those anomalies are usually well-marked and therefore easy to indulge in or avoid per your preference
blues are hit and miss as to whether they’re fruit or herb or weird lab concoction but generally universally palatable somehow
orange flavors typically have very little margin for deviation
pinks are rare and specific luxuries and if not delicious at least obvious
and you gotta be an extra brave woman to fuck with the chemical hellcapes that are purple or yellow at all

but greens
are so ubiquitous they should be safe and yet
there’s so much variation too much for any assurance

and besides

they’re always trying to trick you with them
could be lime or sour apple or watermelon or mint and you don’t know which
until it’s already too late
and you can’t rely on purchase history
because they’re always changing them
it’s part of the trick

i’ve got a theory that
brands that make green flavors
are mostly in the business of trickery
it’s as sadistic as it is smart
you buy a green flavor you like
you go to buy it again but it’s gross this time
you think it’s your own fault you weren’t vigilant
so you go back looking for the first thing
you don’t find it
you buy a different green flavor entirely
hoping you’ll like it as well as the first green thing
maybe you do maybe you don’t
but either way you’re stuck in a cycle of buying and discarding and rebuying green flavors
infinite profit for the brand producing increasingly bizarre and inscrutable green flavors

i used to really dig a green gatorade that was
tropical cooler
or some other gatorade nonsense
but it got discontinued
and in its place
there’s now a different green flavor
that’s some kind of cucumber infusion
joke’s on them though
because i always read the fine print on gatorade
there are too many flavors that look the same to not pay attention
i’ve been burned too many times before

i’ve been burned too many times before
with mouthwash too
but i’ve got a friend who gives the best advice on these sorts of matters
and she says
when you’re in the mouthwash aisle
you always go for the biggest and cheapest listerine
because the smaller and more expensive ones
try to slip in a bunch of fancy stuff that tastes bad
and non-listerine
even the off-brand that looks just like it
just doesn’t feel sharp enough
doesn’t hit right

so last time i was buying mouthwash
the biggest and cheapest listerine
was not the blue flavor i’m used to
it was
of course
a green flavor
and i was at a crossroads

do i take my friend’s sage advice which has never steered me wrong
or do i chance it with a smaller blue flavor that i can’t be certain is the regular blue flavor i always get because all the labels are so similar

a classic green-flavor conundrum

well
i made my choice to trust my friend and
i bought the big cheap green flavor
and it is so pleasant and clean
like my second-favorite childhood gum
the gum my mom would buy me to appease bored child me on long trips to multiple craft stores because she hated the smell of my first-favorite gum

it’s better than regular blue flavor
hits not only right
but exacty right

but will i buy it again when i run out
there’s no guarantee it will be the same green flavor next time
schrodinger’s green flavor
it is spearmint when you buy it the first time
and i don’t know
salsa verde the second time

maybe after we’ve all been seduced by perfect spearmint and subsequently conned into buying salsa verde
and we’ve sobered up and wisened up and slunk back to blue flavor like a repentant cheating spouse
and a green flavor is piling up on the shelves with no one to buy it

it’s tropical cooler

Regular Poem: Errand

15 Apr

never did get cold enough over the winter to kill off the ants
(but how cold is cold enough to kill ants
i bet if a couple of those tiny formic acid bastards somehow stowed away on apollo 11
and had packed enough bacon grease and apple peels in their little bindles
they’re probably still alive on the moon to this day)
but i’m wondering if that translates into
being a warm enough winter to not have killed
my lawnmower
probably ought to get some fresh gasoline just in case
considering i’ve been using the same stale five gallon gas can for literally years
and topping off the engine with new gas and a can of sea foam and my frustrated tears
but i’m all out of new
(well by now new ish if it weren’t just fumes)
gas and i haven’t cried about mowing in at least three mowings

so i have a place to go tomorrow at least
instead of driving all the way to the casino just to see the empty parking lot

Regular Poem: Appropriate Activities for Dads and Their 12-Year-Old Daughters

14 Apr

for the life of me i can’t remember
what my dad’s undercover alias was
i’ve probably got his cab driver’s license from like 1993
where he’s got long hair and a beard and serial killer glasses
clunking around somewhere in a box full of switchblades and shotgun shells

that’s the id he’d use
when we would go to car lots
and test drive convertibles and sports cars
on particularly boring saturdays
and i always got to pick whatever name i wanted
because i was a kid and they weren’t gonna check the id i didn’t have

it was a cheaper activity than bowling or the movies
and more entertaining than mowing his buddy’s farm for extra cash

i was thinking about this today
because
i was thinking about how
i’d like to be part of a small time conman duo
nothing mean spirited
just little clever scams here and there for fun and profit
’30s dust bowl drifters style

Regular Poem: State Slogans

12 Apr

you’ve got your
big sky country
and your
last frontier
and your
lone star state
mile high state
garden state
natural state
and your
hoosiers
sooners
cornhuskers
ok so far so good

but let me lay this one on you
what state would you associate with
as big as you think

came across this one on an online quiz
got immediately offended
and looked it up
it’s as much real as it is nonsense

as you might’ve guessed
it’s kansas
unfortunately

what’s it supposed to mean
who actively thinks about how big kansas is
it’s only the thirteenth largest state by area
a respectable showing but nothing to write a tourism slogan about

and most importantly
is it supposed to be as dirty as it sounds
i keep just saying it over and over to myself
in a lauren bacall voice
surely that’s the only way to say it

we don’t have a great track record in this area
the one before this was
the land of ahs

i get the wordplay
but come on
that is also dirty
could’ve and honestly should’ve gone with the awe spelling

who’s in charge of this stuff
and do they run it by anyone
with half a brain
before they print it on billboards

i’m embarrassed
but i’m even more embarrassed
that i kind of dig it

Regular Poem: My Brother’s Birthday

11 Apr

my official present
was a cast iron dutch oven from a fancy bbq store
(because he’s a very good cook who likes that sort of thing)
but as i slid into my chair in the dimly lit italian restaurant across from his 70-year-old rich lady mother-in-law
and everyone else began conversing about things
neither of us were in on
i realized

my real gift would be
entertaining the mother-in-law so he could have a nice family dinner
which is of course
my specialty
my special gift as it were

topics included
the horrible poetry reading i’d just been to with her daughter
backyard chickens
my new weird job
facebook
puppies
puppies on facebook

actions included
ineptly scrolling through our respective photostreams to find the specific pictures we were looking for to illustrate whatever inane stories we were telling
condescendingly shrugging about stuff we didn’t understand

i can almost always accurately assess a situation
about six to one half dozen to the other adjust myself to that situation seemlessly
it’s rare but
some situations are tailor made for my skillset

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